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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

SDH's 2012/2013 NBA Worst to First Previews and Predictions: 13. Brooklyn Nets

Overall Win/Loss Record :  22-44 fifth place Atlantic Division

Last Season’s Rank

Projected 2012/2013 Finish

Last season’s Team Statistics and League Rank
  • Points Scored: 93.1 (24th)
  • Points Allowed: 99.1 (24th)
  • Team FG%: .425 (28th)
  • Opponent’s FG%: .472 (28th)
  • Rebounds per game: 40.3 (26th)
  • Opponents rebounds per game: 42.6 (19th)

Returning Individual Statistical Leaders
  • Scoring: Deron Williams (21.0)
  • Rebounds per game:  Kris Humphries (11.0)
  • Minutes per game: Deron Williams (36.3)
  • Assists per game: Deron Williams (8.7)
  • Steals per game:  Gerald Wallace (1.5)
  • Blocked Shots per game:  Kris Humphries (1.2)

Projected Starters Based on Last Season’s Performance, Veteran Seniority and Projected Impact

Key Reserves Based on Last Season’s Performances, Veteran Seniority and Potential Impact.
  1. Marshon Brooks (SG)
  2. CJ Watson (PG)
  3. Reggie Evans (PF)
  4. Mirzan Teletovic (F)
  5. Tyshaun Taylor(PG)

2012/2013 Projection:  48-34, tied for third place in the Atlantic Division, will bring the Nets to the playoffs for the first time in more than five years, but won’t go past the first round


They left their former home a perennial bottom-feeder and much of the same was expected once they moved across the Jersey bridge to Brooklyn; however, the Nets have flipped the script and enter the season looking to make some noise.  It started when Nets GM Billy King shipped more than half of his roster to the Atlanta Hawks in order to acquire the ridiculously expensive contract of Joe Johnson.  He then managed to resign their prized free agent Deron Williams to a max contract extension along with holding on to rebounder extraordinaire George Wallace to the tune of 40$ million for four years.  Finally, giving up on the whole Dwight Howard to Brooklyn pipe dream, King finally decided to move on and resigned both of his big men Brook Lopez (four years at about 60$ million) and Kris Humphries (two years at 24$ million) to join the starting trio of Williams, Wallace and Johnson.  Altogether, King has added close 200$ million in salary commitments for the next four years as the Nets enter their new home with a completely new team and a completely new outlook.

Despite the excitement of the Nets coming to Brooklyn with a completely revamped team with a chance to make the playoffs, they are by no means anywhere near of being a title contender.  In fact, more than likely they will remain just good enough to win the odd playoff series at best only to be quickly eliminated by a much stronger team.  The Nets do not even have a chance to win their own division as there are three other teams whom are just as stacked, or even more so than they are.  With their cross-town rivals the New York Knicks strengthening their second unit adding veterans such as Marcus Camby, Jason Kidd, and Ronnie Brewer to go along with their already deep roster, the Net probably will not even win the battle of the burroughs.  At best, all King has managed to do is pay 200$ million to essentially make a terrible team into an average team that will keep fans in their seats long enough to justify their highly bloated ticket prices.

Sadly, this probably will not last very long as two of the players that the Nets did acquire seem to be on the decline as father-time will catch them before their contracts expire.  Joe Johnson, since signing that mammoth contract extension worth close to 120$ million, has been in gradual decline as much of his quickness and athleticism has deteriorated.  While playing for Atlanta, his shooting and ability to get to the basket greatly diminished and it had deteriorated to a point where he had to be moved to the small forward position because he can no longer guard at the two.  He is not going any better than he is now and more than likely he will get worse as age and time catches up with him and the Nets will be stuck with him for the next four years owing him up to 80$ million.  The cheers that Johnson received during his arrival will so turn to boos as fans in Brooklyn will quickly realize that what they got in Johnson is not a good as advertised.

The same goes for Gerald Wallace, who has carved himself a reputation for being one of the toughest small forwards in the league along with one of its best rebounders; however, even father his has been catching up with him.  In his younger days he dominated the glass averaging double figures in rebounding while attacking the rim on both ends of the court. Last season, it had become rather apparent while he played for the Portland Trailblazers that time had started to take its toll as his rebounding numbers took a dip last season and he was becoming less of a factor on the defensive end as well.  Portland realizing that Wallace’s days was numbered, simply cut him loose trading him to the Nets for future cap space because it had become so blatantly apparent that he was no longer helping the team.  Signing him to that four year 40$ million deal will just assure Brooklyn of having an aging veteran whose best years are behind him and will be stuck with his declining production for the next four years.

On paper, it seems as if the Nets have a good enough team to take on the league, but that status is temporary at best.  Sooner or later they will find out that their 200$ million salary commitments over the next four years will be more trouble than they are worth; however, right now they are the talk of the town, but that will end as quickly as it begins.  The only thing that Billy King managed to do was extend his job security for another couple of years before his superiors wise up on how incompetent he really is.  Anyone who has observed him when he managed the Philadelphia 76ers will attest to his poor choices in roster management that kept Philly in mediocrity with Allen Iverson wasting his best years on a team going nowhere.  The same will most likely occur in Brooklyn too as the Nets enter this New York borough with excitement and optimism only to end up deflated and disappointed in the future.